The culture wars seem more intense now than ever — certainly since the 1960s.
The ’60s was an epochal explosion in the culture wars — caused by a confluence of several huge social phenomena: the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War.
I was scared of the ’60s as a child; they still make me shudder.
The ’70s were an era of disquiet: stagflation, American decline, uncertainty and lack of confidence.
The ’80s seemed to be a return to normalcy: American prosperity and confidence. The fog had lifted and the shining city on the hill was indeed there, every brick intact, better than new for all to see and follow — like the castle at Camelot, or the Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry.
Indeed, it seemed that history had ended, a la Fukuyama.
Western values of the shining city had won the day over the iron curtain of communism and totalitarianism, and the world had now only to unfold according to those values.
Even South Africa went majority rule over apartheid without bloodshed — a true miracle. (A modern, post-colonial reprise of England’s Glorious Revolution.) The Irish troubles ended. Ferdinand Marcos was forced out of the Philippines (where I witnessed his own little iron curtain of Martial Law in 1970 as a 10-year-old) by the Flower Revolution — again, not a shot fired. Israel and the U.S. offered Yasser Arafat the 95 percent solution — and were rejected to Arafat’s eternal disgrace.
How quaint the end of history seems now — even though I bought the idea hook, line, and sinker back then. Actually, I recall it being as much a hope as a conviction.
But now, all of a sudden, we have sanctuary cities and states, The Republic of California, Mexican illegals demanding the American dream while waving Mexican Flags (half Mexican myself, Yo soy confuso: to which flag are you pledging allegiance, if any?), Cops being blamed for doing their jobs, socialism being bandied about as the new holy grail, Christianity discounted, Islam celebrated, genders multiplying (52 according to Facebook) and PC run amok on college campuses.
Indeed, if you didn’t know better, you’d think the shining city had become Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now, not all liberals are liberal nuts.
We can all posit and grant that there are reasonable liberals and reasonable conservatives.
What I’m concerned with is the extremes of the two sides — well, only one side, as we’ll see.
What are those extremes?
On the left, it is antifa (throw in Occupy Everything and BLM, though there are reasonable people who embrace the latter), cocialists like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (how is socialism NOT extreme in the American world of free enterprise?), and the whole PC Movement that protects everyone except whites in general, white Christian males in particular.
As I am a white Christian male, my concern may come as no surprise; and yet a stunning number of WCM’s embrace wholeheartedly the PC movement. God bless their self-immolating souls!
And on the Right?
You got me: I got nothing.
The tea party? You mean those nice silver-haired ladies and bald guys showing up on Sunday afternoons after church to request politely that they be taxed and regulated less? And maybe that abortion be reconsidered? Who then cleaned up after themselves before leaving the premises?
Those Jacobins? Why, they couldn’t run five steps, let alone charge anyone while carrying pitchforks. And they certainly wouldn’t brandish Glocks, even if they owned them. They don’t wear masks and assault innocent bystanders and set buildings on fire. Not like antifa and Occupy Everything, bless their little thuggish hearts.
You don’t get any more conservative than the tea party, that collection of middle-aged and old folks who just want to maintain a polite, well-regulated, Christian society.
And that’s extreme?
You see where I am going with this?
What extreme IS there on the right?
Surely the left doesn’t mean skinheads and the Nazi Party and the KKK.
One cannot seriously call them part of the political right. No one with a tithe of a brain takes Aryan or any other race-superiority rhetoric seriously. That is probably one reason we hear so much about the Alt-Right. Since no one seems to know what it really is, and it sounds vaguely sinister, critics turn it into a newly-fashionable version of the Klan. It’s the new Boogy Man.
Antifa is clearly part of the political left. Too many take those fools seriously.
Sure, Nancy Pelosi said a couple of tough things about antifa, when put on the spot.
But not about antifa per se; just about the looting and pillaging in Berkeley and elsewhere.
I saw a special on A&E that I could barely stand to watch on how sad it is that antifa has gotten a bad name when it is so well-intentioned.
Who believes that? Apart from the Koolaid drinkers?
That still leaves Mexican flag-waving illegals, socialism, Occupy Everything, and the core of BLM.
There certainly IS an extreme left.
But there is no extreme right.
Being pro-life is extreme? Are you kidding me? Think about that for two seconds…. (And yet an NPR article said precisely that about anti-abortion efforts in Ohio.)
Christians resisting same-sex marriage is extreme? Really? When most of the country until less than 10 years ago was against it?
I don’t say pro-abortionists (OK, pro-choicers, if you insist) are Extreme.
Wrong, yes. Extreme, no. (Well, extremely wrong, to be sure, but that’s a different connotation.)
So why are pro-lifers extreme?
If no one should be put to death by the state, as the left insists, even if, God forbid, the transgressor kills a parent’s child, then why should any fetus be destroyed?
I’m not necessarily arguing for no exceptions, but simply showing the inconsistency of the left. Surely it is at least as difficult for many a woman to stand to see the murderer of her child live on as for a woman to bear a child conceived in rape or incest to term. You may say this analogy is inapt (good luck trying to prove that, but you’re welcome to try), perhaps misguided (likewise) but “extreme”? How on earth is that extreme? Just because one, or many, don’t agree with or, more accurately, like it, doesn’t render it “extreme.”
As for the consistency of the right: a fetus (baby) is innocent; a murderer is guilty. The first should be protected. The second should be punished. That is unassailable consistency.
So, what does this mean?
It means several things:
The culture wars are slanted in favor of the left: they are generally fought on the left’s very terms.
Second, it means the media and rest of the “elites” (a strange term I don’t like) have an unfair advantage in selling the left’s agenda.
We have a written Constitution that the right takes very seriously. The left, not so much. Sure, they take the Supreme Court seriously, mainly when it is majority liberal. They love Roe; they detest Hellerman. Sure: the right does the reverse: but they do it on principle. They object to activist courts, which is an idea embedded in the separation of powers of the Constitution.
The libs love Roe because they support abortion, for various reasons. Nothing to do with the Constitution — or even the values therein, other than that the government should not be telling citizens what to do — unless it accords with the left’s agenda.
You see? As Gore Vidal said (admiringly) of Bill Clinton and Al Gore: the left is blessed with an almost total lack of principle.
To be fair to libs, the truth is: they do have values. But their values are their own personal ones. They have nothing to do with the Constitution. If they are related in any way, it is by accident. They don’t look to the Constitution for guidance; they look to their (“social justice”) consciences.
Now, of course, all of us SHOULD look to our consciences. But we must also look to the Constitution. Just as Christians listen to our consciences, but look to the Bible.
The Constitution is similar to the Bible in this way.
The right takes the Constitution very seriously, as they generally do the Bible. The left, not so much — in both cases.
I say this not so much to criticize the left (though I am definitely doing that), as simply to state the truth.
An individual is born, grows, eventually dies. His or her cells are changed constantly — every month or so, you are physically entirely different in terms of physical matter. But your DNA pattern never changes, short of mutations; your personality is usually largely the same from birth to death. And your soul never changes.
A society is the same — and different. Every 100 years or so, all members of that society are different. And yet a society can change completely at any time. If it manages not to, what is the DNA that keeps it the same?
It is a Constitution, whether written or unwritten, or whether that Constitution is something less to do with words or even ideas and more to do with a tribal affinity, a collective memory of traditions and practices and the values embodied in them. A single word will suffice:
“Gasp!” utters the Leftist. We hate tradition. Of course you do. Tradition is anathema to progressivism. (As it is to Marxist-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, and Pol Potism.)
Tradition is not always right, but it usually is. Just ask Tevya, The Fiddler on the Roof.
It appears I have become a Burkean in my older age.
Karl Marx is believed to have said at his death: “Alas, but I am not a Marxist!” Maybe he was a Burkean in the end, also. I wonder if he thought with his last breath: Maybe the Bourgeoisie isn’t so bad, after all …
America’s DNA, in short, is the Constitution.
When we no longer take the Constitution seriously and replace it with our own personal ideas and values, including PC, it’s all over, except for the shouting — and the mayhem.
Throw the Bible out and the church (already fragmented, already abandoned by many), not to mention the family, replace it all with vague allusions to “Do unto others…” or, even less, “Social Justice”, or lesser still, “Do Your Own Thing” — and Christianity will be gone in a few generations, only to be reinstated at the second coming.
Barack Obama didn’t start this silliness, but he was a watershed in it. It was great that a non-white male (or stated positively, a black man) became president. We all (practically speaking) loved that.
What a lot of us didn’t love is that he was a Transformationalist.
We were accused of being racist for that: fine, if shouting knee-jerk epithets is your style, may you choke on them.
But we would have been against Bernie the Transformationalist. What does that make us? Anti-old white guys? How rich the irony. (We are mostly old white guys, after all.) Or anti-Vermontists? Anti-Maple Syrup?
I don’t think the U.S. needs any transforming, but I think it entirely plausible that it needs some swamp draining.
Even a reasonable liberal could agree that the bureaucracy is too strong.
If I thought the left really loved the Constitution and the American tradition (not perfect, to be sure, but who or what could have done better, and what is the alternative?), I would have far more respect for them.
As between Hobbes and Rousseau, as a younger man, I saw the appeal of Rousseau but knew the danger. Today, I see the danger more than ever.
The danger is not so much the literal Hobbesian one that we will physically be destroyed by a foreign enemy (though that can happen), but that we will destroy ourselves from within by not hewing to our DNA.
When we become a redistribution society rather than a free enterprise society, we begin to die.
When we become an identity group society, and a global society, not a constitutional American society, we die a bit more.
When we replace the shining city on the hill with the sanctuary city, it’s over.
When the Statue of Liberty becomes the statue of immigration, the fat lady begins the dirge, and lady liberty weeps.
There is the left that hates America. We all know that, whether we admit it or not. (Just as atheists and jihadists hate Christianity.)
There is also the left that embraces a different conception of America that would be entirely foreign to the Founders and to the rest of us.
A deconstructionist version of America: one of absolute equality, in which all Americans are entitled to equality of outcome, and the rest of the world has every right to be an American.
In fact, history teaches that this approach would more likely end up in some form of dictatorship of the party over the Lumpenproletariat.
The equivalent in the Christian world would be liberation theology.
Again, there are reasonable liberals. And my appeal is to them as much as anyone. Beware your extreme leftist brethren, I wish to say: they are pulling you, unawares, unconsciously, toward oblivion. Orwellian oblivion.
Join me in fighting them. Do not abandon the Constitution, the original and true America.
America has always been a free enterprise, Constitution-based nation. For that matter, we have always been a nation that, literally, put our trust in God.
And overwhelmingly the Christian God. And our American values are deeply informed by Christian values, maybe overwhelmingly so.
Of course, people will choose their religion as they will: we cannot say too much about that.
But, as to free enterprise and the Constitution: if we lose our devotion to those — then, indeed, God will have an even bigger job on His hands in saving us.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.